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Tropical Storm Cheneso threatens Malawi

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ON ALERT—Kalemba

The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) has raised an alert, warning that there is a possibility of heavy rains that might lead to flashfloods due to Tropical Storm Cheneso.

The storm, which has already caused havoc in Madagascar, is said to be approaching the Mozambique channel.

It is expected that the storm will cause heavy rains in some parts of the country.

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According to the department, the storm has its centre over Madagascar, “but [is] slowly moving into the Mozambique channel (waters between Mozambique and Madagascar) at 15km per hour”.

“As the storm proceeds into the channel, [it] is enhancing moist Congo Air Mass and the Inter- Tropical Convergence Zone over Malawi. Therefore, expect heavy rains with occasional thunderstorms to continue in most areas of Malawi. Consequently, the threat of flash flooding remains high in some places,” the department explains in the statement.

On January 18 2023, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba indicated that during this rainy season, 16,427 households had already been affected by disasters, mainly stormy rains, floods, strong winds, heavy rains, hailstorms and lightning.

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The disasters had affected 26 districts, with the death toll standing at 56 by then, out of which 30 died of lightning strikes while 26 died due to collapsed walls following stormy rains and strong winds.

By then, 145 people had sustained various degrees of injuries.

Kalemba added that his department had reached out to 10,427 households with relief assistance which included food, tents, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets for temporary roofing.

“The disasters have also caused damage to roads, schools and hospitals… Provision of relief assistance is on-going and the department will reach out to all the affected people as per the reports from affected councils,” he said.

The affected districts include Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Mzuzu, Neno, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Salima, Thyolo and Zomba.

In January last year, Malawi was hit by Tropical Storm Ana, which led to floods in almost 20 districts.

The storm, which originated from the waters of Madagascar, caused heavy rains that led to floods in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe swiping through homes and fields, leaving thousands homeless and in need of food.

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